Descriptions provided by the artist with light editing by Project Optimist for style.
Steven StandingCloud is an Anishinaabe artist enrolled with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and descendent of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Indians in northern Minnesota. He has been an artist for most of his life and currently works in the medium of digital graphics. Steven is a Woodlands and Plains artist, with his art forms inherent to the Anishinaabe and Plains people as his great grandfather was Lakota.
Steven wanted to pursue computer graphics at the beginning of his college career in the 1980s, but there were no such programs at the time. He is self-taught in the use of Adobe Photoshop, which he uses to express his pride in the beauty of Anishinaabe and Lakota art forms.
Art is and has always been part of the spiritual and religious realm connecting the physical self and being with the spirit and visionary reality of the universe. It brings protection, power and healing. American Indian art and beauty is part of cultural identity, tradition and spirituality.
To help connect others to their place in the spiritual realm, Steven has painted tipis, created murals, drawings, paintings and computer graphics. Outside of his art pursuits, Steven has spent many years in college, graduating with associate's and bachelor's degrees and a master's in business administration. He then worked with tribal governments in the state of Minnesota, including his own tribe, and assisted in planning, economic development and business management.
For more information about Steven or to inquire about his work, call (218) 387-5279 or email sstandingcloud@hotmail. You can view more of his work at standingcloudgraphics.com.
Steven's favorite piece: 'Finding Our Way'
The first piece at the top, the graphic with a moose and birds, is called "Finding Our Way." The style of art is called skeleton art, which is a contemporary Ojibwe art form. Each image depicted has meaning to the artist.
The sun represents the life force driving the living entities of the bird, moose and floral. Floral images are representative of Ojibwe art forms and culture that can be found in beadwork, clothing and other art mediums. Therefore, the floral image represents the Ojibwe culture. The moose represents skeleton art which is an emerging art form that is carrying us into the cultural future. The birds represent children who see these art forms and learn of who they are as a people. The soft colors represent a dream state that is the vision of those who see our culture in the future.
Another favorite: 'All My Relations'
In the piece called "All My Relations," the turtle represents Mother Earth, which carries all races of man. The medicine wheel is a sacred symbol that represents all knowledge of the universe. The four colors represent the four directions, seasons and four sacred paths of all people.
This piece has personal meaning to the artist. His mother, who has passed on, was named Snapping Turtle Woman. The blue represents the spiritual beyond the physical and is a window to The Way.
Third Favorite: 'Our Clan'
The bullheads in this piece represent the Bullhead Clan. If one is of the Bullhead Clan, they traditionally are teachers. They pass down all the traditions, knowledge and culture of the people. They are important to the survival of the culture and people.
Again the use of skeleton art is an art style used to represent the new direction of teaching through art.
While not a member of Bullhead Clan, Steven is fond of it after spending years in education as a teacher, advisor and student. He respects the role of teaching in contemporary and traditional times.
This feature was originally published in the Project Optimist newsletter on Oct. 11, 2022.